(b Rome, April 6, 1849; d London, Feb 10, 1917).
English painter. His father was a minor English painter working in Rome. Waterhouse entered the Royal Academy Schools in London in 1870. He exhibited at the Society of British Artists from 1872 and at the Royal Academy from 1874. From 1877 to the 1880s he regularly travelled abroad, particularly to Italy. In the early 1870s he had produced a few uncharacteristic Orientalist ‘keepsake’ paintings, but most of his works in this period are scenes from ancient history or classical genre subjects, similar to the work of Lawrence Alma-Tadema (e.g. Consulting the Oracle, c. 1882; London, Tate). However, Waterhouse consistently painted on a larger scale than Alma-Tadema. His brushwork is bolder, his sunlight casts harsher shadows and his history paintings are more dramatic.
Waterhouse created a distinctive type of female beauty which dominates his work, and he was fascinated by myths of the enchantress. His favourite device was to create psychological tension between a single figure and a group, as in ...